Category Archives: friendship

Circles of Quiet Joy

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I search everywhere for a gift,
just something, something
so that I don’t show up
empty-handed.
Then I remember
the real gift cannot be given
or taken away.
The real gift
comes from
an inextinguishable source.
The real gift
doesn’t change hands,
it changes hearts.
We all have this gift,
and if we could really see it,
we wouldn’t
be running frantically to the store…
We’d sit in circles
of quiet joy,
the light of infinity
mirrored in one another’s eyes.

No Matter The Weather

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It feels like those I called friends
have withdrawn until the storm passes.
It feels like they are waiting
for me to be all smiles and sunshine again.
I have let them know the pain I’m in…
I’m sorry, they say,
I can’t imagine how difficult
this must be for you, they say.
But all the sentiments in the world
mean nothing
when they aren’t backed up
by something real.
And so I find myself asking
What is friendship anyway?
I find myself understanding
what is meant by the term
Fair weather friends.
I want to say to them
Yes, the storm will pass,
but don’t go looking for me
in the safety of the sunshine.
I’ll be miles from here,
in another land,
in another world,
a real world where
people are there for one another
no matter the weather.

A Friend to Myself

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I keep looking for someone to see me,
to be excited about being with me,
a friend who mirrors my dreams
and celebrates them
who looks into my heart
and shares a sweet connectedness.
I think I find a friend
and I get excited.
I reach out, send texts expressing my thanks,
celebrating the synchronicity
that brought us here.
I wait, full of anticipation
looking forward to the experience
of full reciprocation.
And then…
And then, static on the other end of the line.
That vulnerable feeling
of thinking I divulged too much,
reached out too much,
suffocated a budding friendship
with my over-zealous enthusiasm.
Was I too much?
Was the connection I experienced
all a dream?
These dreams were mine.
And so were the lies I told myself
about needing someone else
to show me to myself.
Back at square one,
I realize I’ll never be done
looking for a friend
if I can’t first be one to myself.

Summer Day

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A day of surprises…
a wrong turn yielded
a chance encounter with new friends
who were dancing in the park
on this fine summer day…
a walk down to the river
hot sand and cool stones
laughing and splashing
a sunburn to show for it.
Our new friends offered
food and kindness;
we accepted.
More laughter and hugs good-bye.
As we drove back home
I mused about
what true wealth really is.

Listen to This Life that is Ours

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When the redbud, radiant in her new pink gown
places her arms around the forlorn forsythia and asks
Friend, stay awhile yet,

When the saucer magnolia
cries soft pink tears that pool in the grass
and spill overflowing into the road,

When the chilly wind stirs the wisteria
and frees the cherry blossoms
from their distant perch

When winter’s icy fingers still clutch
at the robes of the Goddess Spring
who longs to break free of the chains
and dance in the warmth of awakening–

When the green mist of rebirth
splashes the forest with promises
of incalculable abundance

Then, friend,
then let us go by the river
and listen to this life that is ours.

 

The Powerful Breath

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The Yoga teacher was stressed out.

Friday night I found myself in a bit of a tizzy as I was driving to work. I noticed I was feeling pretty tense, stressed out, and it wasn’t at all what I was wanting to feel as I was heading to teach a yoga class. Then I remembered the nine part breath which involves alternate nostril breathing with visualizations, and I gave it a go.

The Nine Part Breath

The first three breaths, you visualize breathing in light into your body through the right nostril, and through the left you exhale any attachment or desire toward any specific person, place, thing, event, outcome, experience, mental or emotional state.

The second set of three breaths, you breathe light into your body through the left nostril, and through the right you exhale anger, resentment, and frustration.

The last set of three breaths, you inhale light into your body through both nostrils, and exhale through both again, letting go of greed, pride, confusion, guilt, pain, shame, regret, procrastination, hesitation, feelings of insecurity, the need to compare yourself with others, any insecurities, etc., basically anything you can let go of to make more room for your authentic self to shine.

Relaxing into being

I realized just part way into the second set of breaths that I was feeling expansive, light, calm, deeply focused…and grateful. My attention had completely shifted, and I was no longer focusing on the traffic but instead was noticing the tingle of aliveness in my body, the relief of a full breath in and a complete breath out.

And this is why I teach yoga.

It was another epiphanic moment. Yes, I told myself, this is why I teach. Because I can feel in the very core of myself that I have everything I need to be happy, to be peaceful, to help and to heal in this moment, and I want to share what I know with others so that I can assist them in awakening to their happiness, peace, generosity, caring. To watch myself shift from a stressed out tension ball to someone who could feel joy and gratitude coursing through her–and just in a matter of minutes–it felt so empowering! I chose to relax. I chose to breathe. And I’m so glad I did.

You try it!

The power is in your hands.  Next time you become aware of unnecessary tension in your body or stressful thoughts in your mind, just try some very slow, deep breaths; you don’t have to do any fancy alternate nostril breathing if you don’t feel like it. Simply try to direct your awareness from whatever problem or challenge you are experiencing, and instead become exquisitely aware of what you’re feeling in your body as you breathe in and out. It’s an incredible gift to yourself to reclaim the mental energy you were sending into the past and into the future so that you can enjoy life fully right now.  It’s  wonderful to recognize and tap into your inherent wholeness in this moment–just your presence will inspire others to awaken to their source of inner peace.

So go get ’em tigers!  Go out into your lives and breathe mindfully, and shine the light of your awareness into this whole universe.

A Community of Light Bearers

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Light Bearers

Today seems really special for some reason.  It could be the slight chill in the air that hints autumn is on its way, or the quality of the light as I drove my daughter to preschool this morning.  It could be the receptivity of my students this morning who were willing to try out the Tibetan yoga techniques I learned this past weekend.  Maybe it’s the fact that I had a nice mother-daughter lunch and then came home to my hubby putting the ingredients for chili in a slow cooker, and noticing how he had grocery shopped, cleaned and organized the house while we were out.  Maybe it is grace, pure and simple, revealing to me once again how the little things in each moment fuse together one by one to make up the beautiful patchwork quilt of our lives–so many colors and textures, such blessing and a joy to behold.

Whatever it is, it feels good and I am grateful.  When I logged in to my blog this afternoon and discovered that some dear souls had left comments for me, it really did feel like a wonderful gift.  “Wow,” I thought to myself, “they took the time to write that.  For ME!  They actually read my words and now they’re sharing.  This is beautiful!”

And then it occurred to me how those who read and respond to my posts do so because in some way these words resonate with them.  It might seem like this goes without saying, but upon further exploration of this idea, I realize that I’m calling into my life people who also do the work of looking inwards, who are searching for deeper meaning in their lives, who see the divine in the simple things, who practice lovingkindness in the world around them.

I’ve been wondering for a good portion of my adult life who my tribe is.  Surely I’ve been able to flow into and out of social situations, but I have never really felt like I was part of a cohesive group of like-minded people.  And oh how I have wanted to be a part of a tribe!  Something larger than myself, a support network whose power is far greater than the sum of its parts, creating synergy that makes the impossible possible.

One of my deepest dreams for some time now is to belong to a community of light-bearers.  People who consciously carry their gifts into the world and do what they love in service of others.  Massage therapists, meditation teachers, reiki practitioners, acupuncturists, nutritionists, yoga teachers, homeopathic and holistic doctors, artists, writers, musicians, dancers, shamans, botanists, psychotherapists, feng shui experts, scholars, life coaches–in my dream community, such people would exist in close proximity, and each day would be about healing, working with joy, creating a sustainable way of life for ourselves and the planet.  Glowing with health inside and out, each day would be a celebration of our own unique talents and abilities that we would gratefully share with others.

“Well gee,” I said to myself, as I pondered the community of writers I have met through my blog, “here is my tribe!  Here is the community of light bearers I have been searching for. Here are friends who show up and celebrate with me the beauty that exists in the here and now.  Here are friends who are offering hope and light and laughter with their words.”  It’s as though I was staring at the solution all along and never seeing it, because I was expecting it to arrive in a certain form.  And now that I’m looking straight at it, I’m wondering why I didn’t see it in the first place.

Anyway, all of this to say, thank you to all of you who show up with yourselves, your whole selves, and share your essence with this world.  Each word, each image is a blessing.  I am thankful to be a part of this community, thankful that there are friends out there who understand what I’m trying to say and who unabashedly jump out on the limb with me.

Now who wants to join in constructing a little village for all of us, so that we may regularly sit together with a cup of tea and share and dance and sing and create just for the joy of it?

 

 

Like a Good Neighbor

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Impromptu date night.
My sister had watched the kids while I taught yoga earlier in the evening,
and she was willing to stay so that mommy and daddy could go out.
The kids were in bed,
and the hubby and I sneaked out for a dinner at the local tavern.
Rock star parking, right out in front,
and then bam!

Our neighbor called.
They’re a one car household,
and his wife and son were stranded a couple of miles away with a flat.

Without hesitation, we made a U turn,
and drove back to our street to fetch him.
He was so relieved and grateful to see us.
I squeezed between our kids’ empty car seats in the back seat,
our neighbor hopped up front,
and we were on our way.

I saw the flares first, and then the blinking hazard lights.
There they were, just waiting in the car, at night,
waiting for someone to help.
My neighbor leapt into action, jack, wrench, a few curse words.
We stayed with them the whole time.
I was the one who noticed the long screw stuck in the donut spare–
We were hopeful anyway.
The wheel was stubborn, didn’t want to come away from the mount,
but with lots of persuasion (male brute strength)
our neighbor finally got the thing off and mounted the spare,
which was also nice and flat.

So we drove behind them to the nearest gas station,
hazard lights blinking, 25 mph max,
where he discovered that the spare would hold no air.
One can of Fix a Flat later,
and we were once again following behind him
hazard lights blinking, 30 mph.

We drove like this all the way home,
and as we pulled up, my belly rumbling,
I thought, “How good it is to really help.”
The gratitude in my neighbor’s voice was priceless.

We had a fine feast of leftover pizza and pasta,
a meal fit for a king and queen.
My husband looked at me and said,
“I had a good time with you anyway, honey.”
It was a perfect date.

They Don’t Want Me

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The Friday before last, one of my yoga teacher colleagues came to my restorative yoga class. I’ve known her for a number of years, and I was really happy to see her there. She is a mom too, and I congratulated her for making it out of the house and giving herself time to practice. In that open, relaxed, trusting mental  space that always happens post yoga class, I told her I needed to be more proactive about finding friends and connecting with people, that I can’t just expect a friend to show up at my doorstep saying, “Here I am, I’ll be your friend!” I shared with her how isolated I’ve been feeling, and how difficult is has been for me to connect with new friends.

She suggested that I join her and a small group of yoga teachers who meet weekly on Monday afternoons.  They convene at somebody’s house, and they chat, usually for an hour or two.  She named the members of the group–all of whom I know, all of whom are really great people with whom I’d love to spend some time–and she added, “It’s so nice to have some adult interaction for a while!”  I couldn’t agree more. I was drawn to accept her invitation with a great, enthusiastic “YES!”, but then I suddenly felt hesitant.  I asked my colleague if she needed to get permission from the group before inviting me along, and she shook her head saying, “No, it’s fine.”

Boy, was I excited! Finally, a group of friends, yoga teacher friends–who meet regularly–was going to be mine. I could count on seeing them every week. Even if I didn’t have any other friends, I could count on seeing this group of friends, every week. A week isn’t too long to wait to see friends, so no matter how many challenges I could have in a week, I could look forward to meeting with this group of yoga teacher friends, and pour my heart out to them every Monday. I pictured all the fun I was going to have getting out of the house and having adult interaction with some regularity.

Monday rolled around, and I felt even more excited! Yay! Today is the day I will become a part of a group of consciously evolving women! Today I will be welcomed into a circle of caring, compassionate soul seekers. Today, I will have some friends.

After teaching my morning class, I texted my colleague, “Hey there! Can you tell me where the group is meeting today, and at what time?”  I waited a moment. No answer. I called my husband to let him know I was on my way home, and found out that he had scheduled an oil change for that afternoon. “Oh, but I’m going to meet up with the yoga teacher group this afternoon. Can you shift the time of the oil change?”

“That’s fine,” he told me, “But I need to know now so that I can reschedule the appointment.” I got it,  he needed to know right now.  He didn’t want to wait in limbo. He wanted to plan the rest of the day.

But I still hadn’t received a text response from my colleague, so I got a little more persistent. I called her, and left a voicemail message. No answer. This is curious. Finally, a text came back–not telling me the time or the place, but letting me know that she hates to do this, but because the girls are sharing a lot of personal stuff, she feels a need to ask permission before bringing anyone else into the group, so could we wait a week?

Disappointment. But I understand. I told her that it’s fine, just please let me know.

I waited all that day for an answer, wondering, hoping that she had told the group about me and that they had enthusiastically agreed to welcome me into their ranks. Because I’m a nice person. And they all know me. And I know them.

The next morning, I could wait no longer, so I once again texted my colleague, “Hey there, I was just wondering if you had spoken with the group and what the response was. I feel like a kid trying out for a team and really trying hard to make it on.”

Nothing. No response. Not that day, or the next day, or the next. Four days later, she texted me apologizing for taking forever, but letting me know that one of the members of the group is really opposed to opening it to new members, because she is going through some major life changes. So the two of us could meet, or we could start another group.

Heart sinking. More disappointment. I’m not going to give up so easily.

I responded saying,

Thanks for getting back to me. Oh darn. I wonder if she could be reassured that I keep everything in confidence and completely respect the privacy of the group? That I am going through major life changes myself and am wanting communion? The day and time work for me in my extremely busy schedule with two kids, husband, and seven yoga classes.  I don’t want you to feel caught in the middle, but maybe she could be encouraged to give me a chance? Especially if the other members of the group are willing to have me along. I have felt so isolated and have had much difficulty in finding female companionship. Maybe she could be assured that I will respect her privacy, and could even be of support through these changes. I appreciate your letting me know. I can only imagine that this has put you in a sticky spot. I would love to be given a chance. Could you let her know that I don’t take confidences lightly and am yearning for connection with other consciously evolving souls? Thank you again for being in touch.

And she texted back with, I will do my best! 

That was Friday.

Tonight is Sunday. They’ll meet again tomorrow. I’ve pretty much given up hope that come tomorrow, the member of the group who is opposed to letting me in, will be convinced that I’m someone she wants around. I wish I didn’t know who the group members are, because I’ve been driving myself nuts trying to figure out who it is exactly that doesn’t want me included. And the hurt from being excluded…so heavy, and painful…the disappointment at thinking that I was going to have a reliable source of friendship, and then having the invitation to join retracted as suddenly as it was offered.

The pain at trying to prove that I’m worthy of being given a chance.

The sadness at realizing that I really do have to work hard to find a friend.

And again, the loneliness. I know I’m a good, decent, kind person. I know I am worthy of friendship. I am worthy of having people close to me who care, who want me around, who call me and want to spend time with me. So why isn’t it happening? Why don’t I have friends?

Because, the inner critic says, They don’t want you.

Maybe it’s true. Maybe they don’t want me. And maybe that doesn’t have anything to do with me. But it doesn’t lessen the painful jolts of disappointment I feel every time I think of how close I got to sitting in a circle of women, just being myself…and then not being made welcome after all.

Lonely

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I question how much I should disclose in this public cyber space, but I reason that if my experience resonates with just one other person out there, and they realize that they aren’t the only one feeling what they’re feeling, then it’s worth it for me to share.

I feel lonely as hell today. Lonely in my role as mother to two young children who need me to get their basic needs met. Lonely with a mountain of laundry, meals to prepare, floors to sweep, toys to pick up. All I really want to do is lay down, curl in a ball, hibernate this day away, and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist. I don’t have that luxury, what with the kids needing to eat occasionally and all.

This lump forming in my throat is all the unexpressed sadness I’ve felt for a while but to which I have given no outlet. Who am I beyond the roles and responsibilities I fulfill in the outer world? Who am I beyond my function? If I am only mother, teacher, and wife, what happens when these roles are taken from me? Will I cease to exist?

I have a creative spark in me that longs to shine out into the world. I want to express ME. But so often I find myself folding laundry, picking up toys, preparing yet another meal–and I seem to be operating under the belief that to do these things requires a sacrifice of the self that wants to create. By the end of the day there isn’t much energy left in me to do anything besides meditate and go to bed. The creative spark recedes back into the folds of my deep dark consciousness and waits again.

Over time, noticing the things I’ve put on hold–knitting, painting, music, climbing, sewing, hiking, dancing, writing–I begin to feel angry, and then depressed. No time for me. No time for what I want.

This would be the moment, when I feel this way, that I would normally reach out to a friend. Some sympathetic ear that would reassure me that this won’t last forever, things will change, the kids will get bigger and more self-sufficient, I’ll have more time to pursue my interests. The friend would say something goofy to make me laugh, and my internal pressure would be eased, maybe even relieved completely.

But today is a day when I have not one friend. No friends. None. All of my girlfriends have moved away, and over time, nothing–not even Facebook or texts or even an occasional phone call–can help to bridge the distance and the ensuing awkwardness that arises when we realize that we really don’t know each other anymore. Not in the way that we used to. Why would I call my my former best girlfriends, who have moved out of state and have since formed new groups of best girlfriends, out of the blue to dump on them about how depressed I feel? Not cool. I would have to call them more regularly, find out how they are doing, establish a stronger phone friendship, before I’d feel comfortable believing that they’d even want to hear a single word about my misery.

Where does that leave me? Lonely as hell, with a mountain of laundry, kids to care for, toys to pick up, floors to sweep meals to prepare. Better get my nose to the grindstone…